I really love a world that makes me feel like it really exists. No big info-dumps, you just slide into the story with little hints of what is around you, and you have to figure out what’s going on as you read. The story unfolds and so does a whole new universe. Through the looking-glass and into a galaxy like our own, but not. Torchship offers such an immersive experience. You start out walking alongside Mitchie, a Disconnect citizen, who is helping a Fusion man flee. It’s not until later that you realize the ramifications of that action.
The story unfolds on the ship, the analog torchship of the book’s title, as Mitchie has been hired on as a pilot and joins a crew trying to make a living, and not get tangled up in politics… which leads to interesting adventures involving asteroid belts, comets, terraforming planets, passengers, and more. The pace is not fast, but it’s steady, and enjoyable. And off ship, we follow Pete, who is learning that the differences between Fusion and Disconnect are vast and dangerous.
The differences? I think I can risk a spoiler here. Fusion is people and planets who are reliant on their virtual computerized world, but are deathly afraid of AIs after a devastating war that had almost wiped out humanity. They have allowed their fears to overtake their freedoms, but in the Disconnect freedom is possible… as long as the Fusion doesn’t take notice of you.
Gallagher has spun a fun story with a fascinating, rich society and I can see that there are more adventures to come. I don’t know if I have conveyed how much I enjoyed this book. In a time when I rarely have time to read like I want to, this is a book I plan to re-read in case I missed anything, and because I really like the pilot, and the captain, and then I want to see what happens next.
If you enjoy space opera, grab this one. You won’t be disappointed.